Dan McShea

Faculty, Scholars, & Staff

Dan McShea (Ph.D. 1990, University of Chicago) arrived at Duke in 1996 with a primary appointment in Biology, and now holds a secondary appointment in Philosophy.  His major papers are in the field of paleobiology, with a focus on large-scale trends in the history of life, especially documenting and investigating the causes of the (putative) trend in the complexity of organisms. A significant part of this work involves operationalizing certain concepts, such as complexity and hierarchy, as well as clarifying conceptual issues related to trends at larger scales. He publishes regularly in the journals EvolutionPaleobiology, and Biology and Philosophy. He serves on the editorial board of Biology and Philosophy and as a book-review co-editor for the journal Complexity.  Professor McShea is a member of Duke’s Center for the Philosophy of Biology.